Jesuit's McCullers named state Gatorade player of year
Jesuit High senior pitcher Lance McCullers, who led the Tigers to the Class 5A state semifinals with a 13-0 record and 140 strikeouts, has been named Gatorade's Baseball Player of the Year for Florida. The award was selected by a panel of ESPN high school reporters and analysts based on three primary criteria: athletic production and impact, academic achievement and personal character. On the mound, McCullers, a right-hander, posted an ERA of 0.18 and had just 30 walks in 77.1 innings. Offensively, McCullers batted .280 with two home runs and 21 RBIs, stole 10 bases in 10 attempts, scored 27 runs and had an on-base and slugging percentage of .467. In the classroom, McCullers has maintained a B average and, off the field, has been a volunteer with the Special Olympics, Metropolitan Ministries, the Head Start Program and Bakas Equestrian Center for intellectually challenged children. In addition, he has donated time to be part of a local literacy-outreach program and has been a speaker for middle school children and was part of multiple food drives in association with Jesuit High.McCullers has signed a letter of intent with the University of Florida, but is projected as a first-round selection in next week's Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. Football Plant defensive end Michael Dvornik and Panthers defensive back Justin McDowell, both members of last season's Class 8A state championship squad, have made their college choices, Panthers coach Robert Weiner announced. The 6-foot-3, 230-inch Dvornik will sign with New Mexico Military Institute while the 5-9, 170 McDowell will sign with Marietta College in Ohio. NMMI is a two-year school in Roswell, N.M., and is the only state-supported military college located in the western United States. Marietta College is a co-ed liberal arts private college in Marietta, Ohio. A Division III school, Marietta competes in the Ohio Athletic Conference.